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I can think of my life since Trey was diagnosed and obviously many things come to mind.  The things that stick out the most though are defined by one thing…the blindside.  For example, the day he was diagnosed we knew we were in for something, something bad for sure, but you are never really ready to hear the words “cancer” or “begin chemo ASAP.”  Along those same lines, to hear the words, “we couldn’t get all of the cancer out…we almost lost him, Trey almost died” hit you unlike anything you could ever begin to imagine.  You are (we were) completely blindsided by all but the worst case of scenarios (hearing “we lost him” being the worst in my opinion).

Conversely, what happened over the past few days was the exact opposite but in a similar manner.  We were blindsided by the amount of love and support that we received through our Trey’s Trip to Disney Campaign.  We have been loved many times over the 3+ years since he was diagnosed.  There have been isolated incidents and massive fundraising/prayer/collaborative demonstrations of love and support as well.  Yet, with most of those we knew something was coming and it was going to be amazing…and it was.  The spaghetti dinner on September 11, 2011 was a rolling wave of God’s love manifest through the efforts of many that resulted in a ridiculously beautiful day that left us breathless.  Yet, we could see the swell of support coming.

For just a little while I toyed with the idea of the Disney trip until I/we were convinced it was the right thing to do.  I wasn’t sure how to raise the money until God gave me the right words to say and it sat well within me…and Rachel agreed.  Then, I put it together.   The FundAnything page took just a little while to set up.  Frankly, I hurried through it and didn’t even do it the “right” way or utilize all of our resources to maximize the impact of the campaign.  Launching it basically through my website (and to a degree facebook) was only the first wave.  I figured I would do all of the things that they recommended later in the campaign.  The PayPal particulars took half an hour or so to put together.  Frankly, deciding on the goal was probably one of the very hardest things to do.  Then, I clicked…launched…and waited.  I had no idea what to expect.

Would it work?  How well was it working?  Should most of the money come in within the first week?  Day?  6 hours?  No idea.  Was my goal egregious?  Would I feel defeated if we didn’t reach it?  How sinful would that be if I felt that way?  Blah blah blah.

Then…boom.  It just took off.  Never did I even begin to imagine that it would turn out like it did.  It was so much, so fast, by so many people.  The outpouring of love came in so many different ways as well.  Yes, the goal was reached then surpassed but the overwhelming support took many many forms.  We were blindsided by how God met and then blew away our expectations.

Which leads me to a simple yet profound realization.  I have posted here before that there are three key components to a successful relationship.  These are very true at every individual level whether it be from spouse to spouse, friend to friend, or any other close emotionally intimate relationship.  However, what transpired taught or confirmed that it works (or can work) in a macro or group relationship as well.  Follow me.

The first component of a successful relationship is to place your expectations on God to meet your needs through other people rather than forcing that expectation on specific people.  On Tuesday, I did just that.  I felt lead to post as I did, I followed that lead, and He met our needs (and beyond) in a mighty way.  Beyond the financial support, having a child with terminal cancer can be a very lonely road.  To have so many people come along side, support us, encourage us, and just cheer us on meets many emotional needs as well.

The second component is being open, honest, and vulnerable.  I was certainly that in my post on Tuesday and have been that way both here on my website and over the years through facebook (well, in person too).  Very often, when facing tough times, people turn inward (to no fault of their own).  Rachel and I decided early on if God was going to allow this to happen to us then we should best give Him every opportunity to use it for good.  If we call ourselves Christians and say that we believe in John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son …” and He might require one of my two, who are we to say no?  Thus, we have been open, honest, and vulnerable.

Lastly, the third component is mutual giving.  We have been told that our decision to be so open has blessed many people.  That we have helped them in many ways.  Then, when we expressed our need the other day many…many…many people answered the call and met our needs.

I will be thinking and praying more about this as the days go on because many of you may be thinking, “Ummm, Jay, great for you but I was open with this group and they burned me.” or “I had need xyz and it never got met.”  I guess I can only speak for me and the lesson that was confirmed through what transpired Tuesday and the days since.  I do know that very often we focus on the need but not on the communication of that need or we shove the expectation on people…not God.  One of the miracles of this week has been the number of people that have helped us that Rachel and I have never…ever met.  God used them.  God used you, to bless us.

Yes, we were blindsided by it.  We very much appreciate it.  We very, very much prefer this kind of blindsiding to the other kind.

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